Can Footy Fans Do Their Jobs and Just Support Their Teams, Please!

It’s another transfer window; the most annoying periods in the football calendar. Footy fans are now busy watching Youtube 30 second clips for the names of the next saviours of their clubs, which they will then spam their online support forums with.

“We need to sign a lethal/world class/potent (etc) striker” – This is always on the wish list. No transfer speculator would be worth their onions if their list does not include a striker, described with one ‘killer’ adjective or the other. Many would be kind enough to list a few of such strikers, thanks to Youtube. Interestingly though, on the same threads, somebody would pop up to burst their bubble with detailed information on why the speculated striker signing cannot be possible. Usually, the speculator would just move unto other names, oblivious of the lesson that they’ve just been taught: player signing is very, very complicated!

It is understandable why football fans play the transfer speculation game. We all want our teams to do well, and we naturally want to do our bit to make success possible. This is a noble thing. However, while it would also be noble to rush into a burning building to save people, it would be stupid to do so when the fire-fighters are already on the scene. The fire-fighters are professionals. They know what to do. Any other passionate person around (perhaps with relatives inside) would only be hindering the professionals from doing their jobs by going in with them. Or in respect of us online football fans: screaming ideas and instructions at them from the sideline.

Many of us have been following the beautiful game all our lives. That’s a very long time no matter ones’ age and this gives the false impression of skill at running the game. But all that following football gives us fans is knowledge of facts of the game. In other words, we know the history. Period. I have been wearing clothes all my life but I cannot sew a shirt; and I have used hundreds of them. Some people may be able to sew shirts but it will only be because they’ve learnt how to from tailors. To be fair, anyone can sew shirts but I doubt many would be proud to wear theirs.

One of the major accolades (amongst many) bestowed on the then Senator Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential run was that “he knows what he does not know and he always get people who know to help him out”. Another term for this is self awareness. Know what you are good at and stick to it. At Untold Arsenal, I can guess who wrote an article just by the title. If it is historical, financial, about the media or Tottenham, it is very likely to have been penned by Tony. If it is about officiating or a very enthusiastic title in support of the team, Walter must have written it. Other Untold writers have their forte and tells which can be guessed more easily the more one reads their articles. That is precisely what makes Untold Arsenal what it is today. There are different writers, different ideas and perspectives but all in support of Arsenal.

What also makes Untold great for me is that we don’t play the transfer speculation game here. Damn, I hate that stupid game.

Is Bacary Sagna going to sign a new contract? I have no bloody clue. Am I worried that he might leave at the end of his contract? Of course, I am. I love Sagna. He is the perfect professional or the closest thing to one (but that is only because I don’t want to sound like a sycophant). There is nothing that I would love more than to see him extend his contract (okay, maybe the 2013/14 EPL title).

There are 2 things that we need to take cognizance of here:

  1. Players don’t do ANYTHING because we want or wish them to. They would listen to their agents and others in their entourage before they listen to us. That is if they ever listen to us at all. To be honest, I don’t blame them for looking out for themselves. Football fans would start slagging them off as soon as their forms drop. Or asking for a better player to be signed to take their place. For example: Olivier Giroud!
  2. Whatever worries we might have about Sagna or any of our players for that matter, Arsene Wenger has more and if he doesn’t, it must be that we are worrying for nothing because there is nothing to worry about. Whatever the issue may be with any member of the team, I have full faith in Arsene Wenger to handle it in the best possible way for Arsenal Football Club. He is a consummate professional and a father figure to many of our players. I trust him to act in the best interest of all concerned.

At the beginning of the season, many Gooners did not give the team any chance to do as well as they currently are and this is almost exclusively because Arsene Wenger did not listen to them and splash the cash on world class players. Unlike Chelsea and ManchesterCity who “spent some fucking money” in the summer and are as a result going to compete for the title between them; Arsenal are going to struggle to get 4th place as usual.

This prediction has so far failed to come to pass. The team has led the league most of the season so far. The point gap has gone up and down but no team has had more points than Arsenal, after playing equal number of games, in months. Chelsea and Man city have only led for very brief periods and at the time of writing, 20 games have been played which means all the teams have played each other plus one.

Normally, common sense would dictate that if you’ve failed at a venture, you either give it up or tread more carefully in future when trying again. It sounds ridiculous to read comments admitting to being wrong about the team’s progress so far but then followed with not just expression of doubt but outright certainty about how the team is not going to make it in the end because the same Man city or Chelsea are going to win it. This line is understandable from the fans of the other 2 contenders. Fans are supposed to be optimistic in favour of their teams. It is indeed their duty to prop up their teams and spread confidence amongst the supporters, many of whom will take that swagger to the stadiums, resulting in louder support.

I hope it is not too much to ask the same of us Gooners. I am not oblivious of the doubt that many of us have about how this season will turn out. I have it too. This is what you get after almost a decade of winning nothing despite coming close on many occasions. Doubt is the enemy here and we need to conquer it. Unless one can see into the future, we can never totally conquer doubt but we can limit it or more importantly, desist from spreading it. Believe me when I say that whatever doubt you have about the team, many others share it but are only keeping the faith because that is what supporters do. Don’t reinforce their doubt by repeating yours ad-nauseam. You are not being realistic, as you like to claim; you are spreading gloom and undermining the same team that you claim to love and support.

It is the season of speculation and every fan wants to show off their (often) non-existent knowledge of the game by pulling out assorted, usually, exotic names. My hope is that we will give it a rest and the let the manager do his job as he and his team see fit. If we do ours as supporters by spreading positive vibes about our team, this team will land us the silverware that we all so desperately desire.

Keep the faith.


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